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2022 MLB
Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

2022 MLB Division Preview: National League West

2022 MLB
Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

2022 MLB Division Preview: National League West

Although there may be a large talent disparity within the NL West, the division should provide lots of star power and great moments throughout the 2022 MLB season. Some big names on the move this offseason will be fun to watch out for as they navigate their new clubs. Below I rank the five NL West teams in the order I predict they’ll finish in 2022.

1st Place: Los Angeles Dodgers (last year: 2nd place)

After a crazy battle that lasted until the final day of the season and saw the Giants finish on top, the Dodgers should return back to the top of the division in 2022. Despite a couple of losses, the team remains arguably the most purely talented in the sport this season.

The Team: The three major losses are Corey Seager, Max Scherzer, and Kenley Jansen, three of the most influential players on the team in 2021. Despite these losses, the team’s lineup still remains absolutely stacked, with Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, and newcomer Freddie Freeman leading the way. Any of these players could end up as a National League MVP candidate by the end of the year, and this is just some of the hitting talent the Dodgers will deploy. The rotation is lead by Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Julio Urias. Trevor Bauer’s situation is developing and has many quesiton marks at the moment, and Dustin May is set to return after the All-Star break. As a whole, this Dodgers team is absolutely stacked and will compete to win the 2022 MLB title.

FanGraphs has LA finishing with the best record in baseball at 94-68, and I see them doing even better, with a 100-62 finish.

2nd Place: San Francisco Giants (last year: 1st place)

The Giants will flip-flop placing with the Dodgers from last year, finishing in second place. It’s incredibly hard to see them replicating their 2021 effort, but they still remain a contending team.

The Team: The retirement of Buster Posey, Kevin Gausman, and Kris Bryant leaving in free agency will certainly sting the club a lot. Posey, as the team’s catcher, was their heart and soul for over a decade, Gausman was their ace, and Bryant was their top hitter for the second half of last season. While these players will be missed, the additions of Joc Pederson and Carlos Rodon should help fill the gap they left. Pederson will slide into the middle of the order along with Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Mike Yastrzemski, young catcher Joey Bart, and others. Rodon will now lead the rotation, along with 2021 breakout stud Logan Webb. The rest of the rotation and bullpen is surely talented, but is unlikely to perform at the same level as last season.

FanGraphs sees the Giants finishing in third place in the division with a 84-78 record, and I have them doing slightly better, finishing in second place with a 86-76 record.

3rd Place: San Diego Padres (last year: 3rd place)

The Padres appear to have a very talented team on paper, but they greatly disappointed last year, finishing with a 79-83 record. With the news of Fernando Tatis Jr. missing around three months due to a wrist injury, the team could struggle to improve much off of last season.

The Team: Not too much changed this offseason, which is why it’s hard to see the team’s record changing too much from last year. Luke Voit was acquired from the Yankees to likely play DH, but no other significant players were added. Tommy Pham left for the Reds, Adam Frazier left for the Mariners, and Mark Melancon left for Arizona. The team’s season will be dictated by how they perform without Tatis for the first half of the season, and that responsibility will fall largely on Manny Machado, Trent Grisham, Jake Cronenworth, Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, and Voit to assure that runs are scored. The rotation has lots of potential led by Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Mike Clevinger. Ultimately, this Padres team must stay in contention without Tatis to have a successful year.

FanGraphs predicts the Padres finishing in second place in the NL West with a 88-74 record, and I see them doing slightly worse, with a third-place finish at 85-77.

4th Place: Colorado Rockies (last year: 4th place)

The Rockies will once again struggle, although, like last year, they’ll see some winning streaks throughout the year. A fourth place finish in the NL West seems imminent with the Dodgers, Giants, and Padres being contending teams.

The Team: The big loss is Trevor Story, but he has essentially been replaced by Kris Bryant, which ultimately puts the Rockies in a similar spot as they were in before. The Bryant move was surprising, considering how unwilling the team was to give a large contract to Nolan Arenado a couple of years back. The team will also have to cope with the loss of Jon Gray, a solid starter who left for the Rangers in free agency. The team also added Jose Iglesias, Alex Colome, and most recently, Randal Grichuk, in a trade with Toronto in which they gave up Raimel Tapia. The rest of the roster will fill out with solid players such as Charlie Blackmon, Ryan McMahon, C.J. Cron, Brendan Rodgers, and German Marquez. Colorado should once again experience a rebuilding year.

FanGraphs sees the team finishing last in the division with a 67-95 record, but I have them doing better, with a fourth-place finish at 72-90.

5th Place: Arizona Diamondbacks (last year: 5th place)

Arizona remains one of the worst teams in baseball heading into the 2022 MLB season, with the excitement of the franchise largely coming from the top prospects in their farm system. Expect another struggling year from the team, who will surely be sellers at the trade deadline.

The Team: The only noteworthy additions to the team this season are Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy joining the bullpen, and aside from them, the team remains in a very similar spot as in 2021. After trading away Eduardo Escobar to the Brewers at last year’s trade deadline, he reached a deal with the Mets for 2022, leaving Ketel Marte as the only proven hitter on the roster. Around him, Christian Walker, David Peralta, and Carson Kelly will be relied on heavily to produce offense for the club, which could be a big struggle. The rotation is lead by former playoff hero Madison Bumgarner and Zac Gallen, a young pitcher who certainly has lots of potential moving forward. This season will once again be filled with building for the future, as there is unfortunately little hope for Arizona for the 2022 MLB season.

FanGraphs has the Diamondbacks finishing in fourth in the NL West with a 70-92 record, but I have them in last place at 67-95.

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